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Steve Bruce admits his job is under pressure with West Brom just three points above the drop zone

‘If I don’t win games, my head will be chopped off’: Steve Bruce admits his job is under pressure after six games without a win… with West Brom just three points above the drop zone after failing to secure the lead to hold against Norwich

  • Steve Bruce’s team slumped in a 1-1 draw against Norwich on Saturday afternoon
  • The Baggies led from the ninth minute to Sam Byram’s goal in the 67th minute
  • West Brom are now well into the relegation equation with just one win in 2022-23
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Steve Bruce admitted his job is in jeopardy after Sam Byram’s lucky leveler gave Norwich an undeserved point.

Dara O’Shea’s early header had put Albion on course for just their second championship win of the season.

But fortune failed Bruce and his players in the 68th minute when Teemu Pukki’s shot went in from the unwitting Byram – and Albion’s appeal to handball failed to convince the umpires.

Steve Bruce's West Brom suffered their fourth draw in just six games at Carrow Road
Steve Bruce's West Brom suffered their fourth draw in just six games at Carrow Road

Steve Bruce’s West Brom suffered their fourth draw in just six games at Carrow Road

Results elsewhere put Albion firmly in the relegation equation by entering an international break in which often underperforming teams see a part with their managers.

Bruce was adamant referee Thomas Bramall and his umpires, however, had made a mistake with Norwich’s goal, as well as got a previous penalty claim wrong.

Teemu Pukki unfortunately did not score after his attack by Sam Byram .  was deflected
Teemu Pukki unfortunately did not score after his attack by Sam Byram .  was deflected

Teemu Pukki unfortunately did not score after his attack by Sam Byram . was deflected

“I know it’s a tough job, but big decisions cost us money – and if I don’t win matches, my head will be chopped off,” Bruce said.

“The big decisions they need to get good and we had two against us – their goal and the penalty – and that’s being honest.”

Albion caught Norwich taking a nap in the eighth minute after Marcelino Nunez made a foul on John Swift on the left side of Norwich’s penalty area.

Swift took the free kick himself – and the home defense just stood and watched as O’Shea galloped unchallenged to the back post to plant a downward header next to keeper Tim Krul from five yards.

A few minutes later, fortunes were in Norwich’s favour, when Kenny McLean’s wayward pass enabled Albion to send Swift into the penalty area, but referee Bramall failed to point to the spot when Grant Hanley appeared to push him in.

“It was an absolute stonewall penalty, no matter the ball went out of play,” Bruce insisted. “Swifty got hit, the boy Hanley rushed at him – it’s a penalty.”

Dara O'Shea had the visitors ahead after nine minutes, but they couldn't hold it
Dara O'Shea had the visitors ahead after nine minutes, but they couldn't hold it

Dara O’Shea had the visitors ahead after nine minutes, but they couldn’t hold it

Norwich manager Dean Smith argued that Bramall had to let play go on for letting a similar challenge from a Norwich player go unpunished in the run-up to the match.

“It’s the consistency of the referee, so well done,” he said.

It took the home side an age to reply, but Nunez made a first attempt from a half-cleared inch wide corner to wake up the Carrow Road stalwarts.

The Chilean midfielder made another attempt a few minutes later under similar conditions, but this time went off the bar comfortably.

Norwich fans were less than charmed by Albion’s reluctance to take free kicks or throw-ins quickly, and Bramall’s disapproval for not forcing an acceleration process grew stronger as the second half progressed.

The Baggies are now just three points above 23rd seeded Huddersfield with more games played
The Baggies are now just three points above 23rd seeded Huddersfield with more games played

The Baggies are now just three points above 23rd seeded Huddersfield with more games played

Josh Sargent, on the other side, had been kept quiet, as had Pukki, but the pair combined for a shot from the first that was deflected from behind by a defender.

Fortune left Albion out of the corner when Byram’s lucky finish – his first for Norwich – was allowed to stand, despite claims the defender used an arm before the ball crossed the line.

Onel Hernandez put the ball back to Pukki for a shot from the edge of the penalty area that misdirected David Button by making a huge deflection from his teammate and although referee Bramall spoke at length with assistant referee Matthew Wilkes about the handball claims of Albion, it was allowed to stay.

Dean Smith saw his Norwich side's six-game winning run end up front in their own backyard
Dean Smith saw his Norwich side's six-game winning run end up front in their own backyard

Dean Smith saw his Norwich side’s six-game winning run end up front in their own backyard

With no VAR to help or hinder, it remained a huge point of discussion, but Smith once again supported the officials. “I’ve been led to believe that if it’s a T-shirt — if it hits the top of the arm — it’s okay, so it looks like a good cause.”

The result ended a six-game winning streak for the Canary Islands in the competition.

Although the draw puts Bruce’s Baggies in an uncertain position – for both the team and the manager.

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